Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Review 'aggregators' - and why they are the wrong solution

What is an 'aggregator'? An aggregator simply displays reviews from all over the web - usually Google and all the reviews sites - on the business's own website and in search. It sounds like a good idea (they certainly promote it as one!) - until a customer writes an unfair, inaccurate or potentially misleading review on an external platform that neither the business in question, nor the aggregator, has any control over.

And, make no bones, the kind of negative reviews you see in the examples below, do harm businesses - just because no-one rings or emails a business saying "I'm not using your business because I read a negative review" it doesn't mean that doesn't happen - it does, all the time. According to a recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Marketing 93% of consumers now actively consult reviews before doing business - and we're guessing the remaining 7% don't have access to the web!

Here is an example of an aggregator...




...simply showing - on the business's own website - what any potential client might reasonably be expected to find on Google...





 This Google score is not necessarily an indicator of a business that is unpopular with a significant proportion of its customers, but it is an indicator of a business that has chosen the wrong review management solution


...and, if that is not enough 'self-harming' - here is more evidence to show how it has the potential to do serious damage to the business in question...





This is the most recent review published on Google and then re-published on the business's own website by the aggregator


Here is another aggregator and another business's website...


...with the results highlighted in search...


You cannot argue with the aggregator's SEO: but here it is working directly against the interests of their client


The root cause of this? Lack of moderation. We are sure that the businesses themselves, when quizzed about the individual negative reviews, would all have reasons why many of them were inaccurate and/or misleading (the word 'unfair' often crops up when we speak to businesses) - but the external sites have no moderation beyond their T&Cs, they will publish a review is it complies with those, and almost reviews short of the outright libellous will. 

Any business that takes its reputation seriously, as we are sure those in the examples above do, should be looking at professional review management, not an aggregator. 


Further reading...

Aggregators make much of 'stars in search' being a core benefit, and we agree with that, but with one important difference: the stars that matter, above all, are Google stars. Google has the visibility and the credibility businesses need, but they also need moderation, as the above article makes clear. For more on 'stars in search' read this, for a description of HelpHound's moderation process read this.

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